Members considered the housing management options appraisal report. The meeting was advised that after a number of concerns had been raised by Members regarding the management of the council’s housing stock by East Kent Housing, Cabinet considered about specific failures of service delivery and poor performance. On 25 July 2019, Cabinet then agreed to further consider an options report on the future management of the council’s housing stock.
On 17 October 2019 Cabinet approved the preferred option which was to withdraw from East Kent Housing (EKH) and return the housing management services back in-house under direct management of the council. This was subject to formal consultation with all council tenants. The formal consultation ran from Tuesday 22 October to Friday 20 December 2019.
The meeting was further advised that across East Kent 2,603 responses were submitted, with 427 of these relating specifically to Thanet. Of the Thanet responses, 81% strongly agreed (60%) or tended to agree (21%) with the preferred option to return the service in-house. Only 10% disagreed. This was a strong signal of support for the proposals from the council’s tenants and leaseholders.
Cabinet acknowledged that the process of bringing the management of council housing stock in-house was complex. Cost benefit analysis and risk analysis reports had been produced as was required by government guidance when winding up a Housing ALMO (Arms Length Management Company). Cabinet confirmed its commitment to fully engage tenants and leaseholders, both through the transition process and into the future in order to provide an improved housing service.
Cabinet further acknowledged the uncertainty and anxiety that these changes may cause to EKH staff. Members reiterated that staff were very much valued and would be needed to continue to provide the service, once management had passed back to the council. Cabinet was also committed to ensuring that the transition was as smooth as possible, minimising any stress and anxiety for the affected staff whilst aiming to achieve the overall objective of improving the housing management service in a more transparent and accountable manner.
The following Members spoke under Council Procedure Rule 20.1:
Councillor Everitt proposed, Councillor Albon seconded and Members agreed the following: